[Pastor Carl H. Stevens Jr.], a former appliance salesman and bakery truck driver, originally founded his church as "The Bible Speaks" in Maine in 1973. According to The Bible Speaks Book of Miracles, an official church publication, God called Stevens into the woods near a lake one day.
By the 1980s, the church had moved to Massachusetts and drawn criticism. Members said Stevens insisted they submit to him personally as "God's man," according to a 1983 report by the Christian Research Institute (CRI), a California-based evangelical study group. Stevens' teachings also led some members to fear divine retribution for leaving the ministry or criticizing him, the report said.
After the service, many spoke of "Pastor" - as he is universally called - with great reverence. Bruce E. Johnson joined Stevens' ministry in 1975 and came here in the early 1990s to attend Bible college. He says Stevens shows people how to live a pure life and dislikes adulation.